Dhaka, Bangladesh
Safe Internet drive launched

Safe Internet drive launched

Mazharul Islam Mitchel The government has launched a massive drive to make the Internet safe and prevent unethical use of the social media with an intention to tarnish the country's image. Authorities recently blocked at least 244 pornography sites and over 1,000 social media accounts used to spread propaganda against the government and the Prime Minister. "The drive will continue. We're prioritising online safety as most of the country's internet users still lack awareness about online safety. Government agencies are also scanning online contents round the clock to prevent unethical use of the internet," Telecom and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar told The News Today on Sunday. President of the Internet Service Providers Association Bangladesh (ISP) MA Hakim told The News Today that their association received a letter from the BTRC in this connection. He said steps are being taken to comply with it. The Secretary General of ISP said that the Internet service providers have already blocked pornography sites and they have filtered the domain name, links and keyword of any websites which are included as pornography. The campaign will stop the abuse of internet using, he also said. The Minister also said there is no alternative to filtering online content to ensure a safe Internet for the future generations. National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) blocked at least 752 Facebook IDs and 1,332 pages that were opened using the name of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reportedly to tarnish the image of the government. "Now we have designated our experts to scrutinise the activities of the social media accounts opened in the name of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Facebook accounts involved in wicked publicity will also be blocked very soon," the minister said. Mustafa also mentioned that there are no official social media accounts of the family members of the Father of the Nation except his grandsons Sajeeb Wazed and Radwan Mujib Siddiq. Flashbacking to the early stage of the drive, Minister Mustafa said: We got opportunities for the first time to coordinate all agencies of government to move against online propaganda when the Zigatola incident happened following a student protest. We found that our local experts have the capacity to deal with such propaganda very effectively." "At least 760 fake Facebook accounts, pages and groups were created using the name of Bangladesh Army in just one night before the December 30 general election," Mustafa added. The minister also mentioned the authorities have a continuous liaison with global internet platforms of Google and Facebook to block these accounts. However, their process takes a little bit of time. The chairman of Bangladesh's Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, Jahurul Haque, said the commission is considering limiting children's access to the internet in order to shield them from its potential dangers. "This (social media) is an addiction like opium. We have been discussing the possibility of limiting the use of social media, especially by children. This is at the planning stage now," Jahurul told The News Today. He said technology would allow adults to monitor sites visited by children. "Those watching unproductive and bad sites can be charged more. This can be one strategy," he said. Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar, on the other hand, said he wanted to use the internet for the educational benefit of boys and girls. "We have been trying to expand education through use of social media and different tools of information technology," Jabbar told The News Today. "I do not think Facebook and other social media hamper education. "Our duty is to make people aware of the dangers. Blocking [internet access] is not the solution," he said. "The government must not do anything relating to social media that may harm education," he said.

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